Pilgrimage to the 88 Sacred Places of Shikoku
{Shikoku Hachijūhachikasho Meguri}

This information is being put together from many sources. In addition to my personal notes, a list of my resources can be found on the Pilgrimage Books & Papers page. The distances between temples comes from the Japanese maps in Shikoku Henro Hitori Aruki Dōgyō Ninin. The links for each of the temple's honzon (main deity) go to an explanation of that deity on the Shingon Buddhist International Institute web site at www.shingon.org.

Two notes:

1. The distance listed between temples below assumes that you are only walking to the main 88 temples. If you visit the bangai temples as well, this will change some of these distances.

2. About each temple's goeika: there are variations between books on the goeika for various temples. I don't know if they have changed over the years or if different groups and/or sects have different accepted versions. Just beware that you may find differences, depending on the book you take the information from.

Shūgyō no Dōjō
Shūgyō no Dōjō
The Dōjō of Religious Discipline
(Temples 24 to 39)

By now, whether you intended it or not, you are awake. By the time you reach the border of Kōchi Prefecture you are aware that something is happening to you. You are more aware of what you are doing. More aware of the people you are meeting. More aware of living. Not just existing, not just being. But living. And this awareness is probably making a difference in your life.

The Dōjō of Religious Discipline. It is a little hard to imagine what the holy men and women of old went through as they walked this trail if you stay in a warm and dry room every night. If you are guaranteed dinner each night and breakfast each morning. It is hard to imagine as you put on the high-tech rain suit each time the rain starts to fall. Hard to imagine as you stop in another coffee shop just to get out of the weather or cold.

But, even with all of the luxury it is possible to discipline yourself. Some important and interesting changes have occurred in your mind as you walked from temple to temple over the past week. By now you realize that you are alive. Maybe you have come to realize that, just like there is more to this pilgrimage than just walking from temple to temple, there is more to life than just getting from day to day. Being alive isn't what life is about — living is what life is about.

You now have an entire prefecture to walk through while you contemplate this, and several weeks to reinforce what you have realized.

Temple 24
Shingon Buddhism
Name: Hotsumisakiji Honzon: Kokūzō Bosatsu
Name: Cape Temple Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Myōjyō no idenurukata no higashidera kurakimayoi wa nadoka aramashi
Honzon Mantra: Nōbō akyashya kyarabaya on arikya maribori sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 75.4 km Distance to Next Temple: 6.4 km 

It is a long three-day walk down the coast from Temple 23 to Cape Temple on Cape Muroto. But, if you tune out the traffic and the fact that you are walking on the side of the highway all the way down the coast, you see that it is a beautiful walk. The scenery can be breathtaking and the breeze blowing off the coast is refreshing.

Having been unable to reach his goal of enlightenment on Mt. Tairyū, Kōbō Daishi came here to try again. He was 19 when he came, and he found a cave to meditate in down at sea level on the East side of the tip of the cape. He moved in and said that he wouldn't leave until he had completed his task. Three years later, when he was 22 years old, Kōbō Daishi achieved enlightenment and dedicated his life to the salvation of all mankind. As legend puts it, upon the completion of the gumonjihō early one morning, the morning star came into his mouth at dawn.

To commemorate his achievement, he took the name Kūkai, built Cape Temple on the top of the hill at the tip of the cape, carved a statue of Kokūzō Bosatsu, and enshrined it as the honzon. Because of this history, this temple has always been an important pilgrimage temple and has always enjoyed the support of the imperial family and the Daimyō of Tosa.

The temple is commonly called Higashidera. The marble statues of Nyoirin Kannon, Gakkō, and Yakushi are considered National Treasures.

Near the cave in which Kōbō Daishi meditated is another cave called the 'Twisting Winds' cave. The local people continually suffered from the winds blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. To alleviate this, Kōbō Daishi twisted the wind in on itself, thus causing the rocks of the cave to look corkscrewed. This cave also shelters the souls of dead children.

In the temple grounds is a large boulder about 3' high and 4' wide with small, palm-sized stones laying in depressions along the top. When you strike the boulder with the smaller stones, musical tones are given off. Not just a CLACK of one stone hitting another, but a clack accompanied by a distinct musical tone, with different sized rocks producing different tones.

Frederick Starr talks about the famous Myōjōseki (Bright Star Stone? Morning Star Stone?). A deity appeared to Kōbō Daishi and Kōbō Daishi embedded it in this stone, which has shone ever since. He also talks about the temple's "potatoes not to be eaten." Apparently, these potatoes are sliced raw and stamped with a red seal. They must not be eaten but, instead, should be held over water so that you can see the reflection of the seals in the water. The water is then used as a cure for disease. Before the reflection is made, however, the water is offered in a cup in the tokonoma.

As an aside, old pilgrimage guidebooks say of Tosa, "Tosa wa oniguni yado ga nai." (Tosa is the land of demons where there are no inns). I didn't find that to be true, however. There were plenty of inns, uncountable numbers of friendly people, and abundant amounts of friendship.

Temple 25 Shingon Buddhism
Name: Shinshōji Honzon: Kajitori Enmei Jizō Bosatsu
Name: The Temple of the Illuminating Seaport Lodging: No

Goeika: Nori no fune irukaizuru ka kono Tsudera mayofuwagami o nosete tamaeya
Honzon Mantra: On kakakabi sanmaei sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 6.4 km Distance to Next Temple: 3.8 km 

The temple was founded by Kōbō Daishi and he carved the honzon in 807. The local fishermen usually call the temple Tsudera, Port Temple, and the honzon is known as Kajitori Jizō, the Helmsman Jizō.

Legend says that Lord Yamanouchi of Tosa Castle was saved from shipwreck because of his devotion to Jizō. During a severe storm Jizō took the helm of his floundering ship and steered him to safety. After destruction in the early years of the Meiji Period, the temple was rebuilt in the 1890s.

In the hondō there are thousands of small statues of Jizō donated by pilgrims from all over Japan. In the hands of each statue is a ship's wheel. The hondō is located above the Nōkyōchō, at the top of a long set of stairs, but there is a good view of the port from the top.

Temple 26 Shingon Buddhism
Name: Kongōchōji Honzon: Yakushi Nyorai
Name: Vajra Peak Temple Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Ōjō ni nozomi o kakuru gokuraku wa tsuki no katamuku Nishidera no sora
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 3.8 km Distance to Next Temple: 27.5 km 

The temple was founded by Kōbō Daishi and is usually called Nishidera. The honzon is so life like that legend states that it walked to the alter by itself after being carved. Both Tosa lords, Chōsokabe and his successor (or replacement, actually) Yamanouchi, gave financial support to this temple before the 19th century. It was said that Kōbō Daishi came her often as a child to perform austerities and to seek enlightenment.

At one time the temple had seven subshrines, possessed 3,500 koku of rice, and was the main temple for praying for the peace and safety of the nation. Legend has it that demons lived in a camphor tree at this temple. Kōbō Daishi chased the demons away and then carved his image in the tree trunk. That image is now in the daishidō. The daishidō dates from 1486 and is the oldest building at the temple. The rest of the buildings burnt down in 1899.

The temple has long been known as the site where a Tengu (flying hermit) once stayed for one hundred years before flying away to Cape Ashizuri while dragging his legs. Of interest is a museum (the Geishōkan) which houses a display of whaling tools. This area was once quite famous as whaling district.

Also of interest, but off limits to all but a few lucky and select henro, are the treasures kept in the temple's treasure house. Included are numerous personal items that once belonged to Kōbō Daishi and handed down to his disciple, Chiko, who moved here when Daishi-sama died. One of the treasures is a set of ten scrolls containing the two basic sutras of Shingon Buddhism, the Dainichikyō and the Kongōchōgyō. The sutras are thought to be 8th century copies of the original set that Kōbō Daishi brought back from Japan.

Apparently there are some scholars who say that Kōbō Daishi lived here, near Temple 26, while he was meditating on the Cape. Their argument is that weather conditions would have been too harsh down by the caves near Temple 24 and that it would have made more sense to have actually lived here, where it is semi-protected from the elements. Of course, others insist that 8th century hijiri trained and lived austere lives on the rocky point at the tip of the cape, so it would have been natural for Kōbō Daishi to have done so as well. Those scholars continue to insist that he lived near the caves below Temple 24. The debate continues today.

Frederick Starr notes being shown eight portraits of the Shingon Patriarchs "on square wooden tablets, in low relief, and colored in dry colors." He also says that there is a sandal wood tree here that Kōbō Daishi had brought back from China.

Temple 27 Shingon Buddhism
Kōnomineji Jūichimen Kanzeon
God Summit Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Mihotoke no megumi no kokoro kōno mine yama mo chikai mo takakimizuoto
Honzon Mantra: On maka kyaronikya sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 27.5 km Distance to Next Temple: 37.5 km 

Gyōgi founded this temple and carved the honzon in the 8th century to worship both the Buddha and the local Shintō kami. While the honzon is kept in the hondō, a second Jūichimen Kannon and the Mercy Bodhisattva are kept as 'secret images' (hibutsu) and, as such, are only shown to the public on rare, and special, occasions.

Kōnomineji is considered a nansho temple. The temple burned down in the beginning of the Meiji Period and the honzon was moved to Temple 26 until 1912. Because there was a law at that time forbidding the construction of new temples, local residents found an unused temple called Jizō-in in Ibaragi Prefecture, dismantled it, and moved it to this location. The honzon was then returned from Temple 26.

The mother of Baron Iwasaki (the founder of the Mitsubishi Enterprise Corporation) prayed for her son's success at this temple and the Corporation later patronized the temple.

There are two main buildings here, the Buddhist temple and a Shinto Shrine.

Frederick Starr says that in ancient times, people only climbed to this temple in the morning because they feared the haunting demons that supposedly inhabited the area.

Temple 28 Shingon Buddhism
Dainichiji Dainichi Nyorai
The Great Sun Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Tsuyushimo to tsumi o teraseru Dainichiji nado ka ayumi o hakobazaramashi
Honzon Mantra: On abiraunken bazara datoban
 Distance to Previous Temple: 37.5 km Distance to Next Temple: 7.5 km 

The temple was founded by Gyōgi and the honzon was carved by him as well. Kōbō Daishi carved a statue of Yakushi Nyorai and dedicated it to the Okunoin of the temple. This was blown over in a storm in 1868 and, therefore, is now housed in a separate shrine.

Many henro believe that this temple cures illnesses of the head and upper part of the body.

The honzon of Dainichi Nyorai and the supporting image of Shō Kannon are considered National Treasures. Before the purge of Buddhist temples at the beginning of the Meiji Period, this temple had seven branch temples.

It is written that Kōchi Prefecture is still the land of Shintoism, and this does in fact seem to be the case. As you walk through the prefecture you seem to see more shrines here than anywhere else on the trail.

Temple 29 Shingon Buddhism
Kokubunji Senju Kanzeon
The Official State Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Kuni o wake takara o tsumite tatsutera no sue no yo made no riyaku no koseri
Honzon Mantra: On bazara tarama kiraku
 Distance to Previous Temple: 7.5 km Distance to Next Temple: 6.9 km 

This temple was built by Gyōgi in 739 on the orders of Emperor Shōmu, like all other state temples in the 8th century. At the time it was built, its official name was Konkōmyō Shitennō Gokokuji. The temple was burned down and rebuilt numerous times during the time of Chōsokabe and Yamanouchi. This is one of the temples that Chōsokabe rebuilt after he converted to Buddhism in his older years.

The statue of Kōbō Daishi is called Hoshiku Daishi because Kōbō Daishi performed the Rite of Astral Festivity (Hoshi Matsuri) here when he was 42 years old. Two Yakushi statues and a bell are considered Important Cultural Treasures.

The two Niō statues are so worn that they are held together with large metal staples across their middles. Niō can be seen at nearly all Japanese temples, and are known as the Golden Kings that prevent devils from approaching the temple grounds. The gate at the front of a temple which houses the two Niō, one on each side, is called the Niōmon. Otherwise it is simply called the Sanmon.

There is one official state temple in each province, and these are: Temple 15 (Awa/Tokushima), Temple 29 (Tosa/Kōchi), Temple 59 (Iyo/Ehime), and Temple 80 (Sanuki/Kagawa).

Temple 30 Shingon Buddhism
Zenrakuji/Anrakuji Amida Nyorai
The Temple of True Joy/The Temple of Everlasting Joy Lodging: No

Goeika: Hito ohaku tachiatsumareru ichinomiya mukashi mo ima mo chikaeneru kana
Honzon Mantra: On amirita teisei kara un
 Distance to Previous Temple: 6.9 km Distance to Next Temple: 6.6 km 

There are two temples that have called themselves Temple 30 in the past, and the feud between them over which has the right to use the name was long standing.

The original Temple 30, Zenrakuji, was built on the orders of Emperor Shōmu and reestablished by Kōbō Daishi, with Kōbō Daishi getting credit for having founded the temple. The feud began in 1868 when Zenrakuji was damaged in riots during the resurgence of Shintōism and the Buddhist purge following the Meiji Restoration. The temple was located on the same grounds as the Shintō shrine and thus severely damaged. The honzon and the statue of Kōbō Daishi were moved temporarily to Temple 29.

In 1893, the honzon was moved from Temple 29 to Anrakuji (also founded by Kōbō Daishi), which then began calling itself Temple 30. In fact, during for over a half a century henro were actually forbidden to visit the original grounds of Zenrakuji.

In 1929, supporters of Zenrakuji transferred the rights to an old and unused temple in the Tokyo area to the site of the destroyed Zenrakuji. Since the government restricted the building of new temples, if they hoped to rebuild Zenrakuji, they had to use the rights to an already existing temple. At that time, however, they only had enough money to place a marker on the site of the temple and not enough to actually build it. But, this allowed them to reestablish the temple, at least in name.

In 1938 followers of Zenrakuji built a small temporary building and got the statue of Kōbō Daishi back from Temple 29. But, Anrakuji refused to return the honzon and continued to call itself Temple 30. The dispute continued until 1942 when it was decreed that the temples must merge at the end of a three year period, with Anrakuji the title of Okunoin, and Zenrakuji reassuming the title of Temple 30.

Nothing happened after the three years and more negotiations ensued. In 1952 Anrakuji was declared Temple 30 and Zenrakuji was named 'A Place of Historical Importance.' Zenrakuji was changed to the same sect as Anrakuji and the same head priest was named over both temples.

However, sometime since the mid-1970s, or so, another reversal has taken place. The honzon is now at Zenrakuji, and this is now listed as Temple 30. Anrakuji is now listed as the Okunoin.

Temple 31 Shingon Buddhism
Chikurinji Monju Bosatsu
Bamboo Forest Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Namu Monju miyo no hotoke no haha to kiku ware mo konareba chikoso hoshikere
Honzon Mantra: On arahashya nō
 Distance to Previous Temple: 6.6 km Distance to Next Temple: 5.7 km 

Gyōgi founded the temple in 724 on the orders of Emperor Shōmu and it was modeled on the famous Chinese temple Wu-t'aisan (Godaisan). Gyōgi also carved the honzon and it is considered to be one of the three best statues of Monju Bosatsu in all of Japan. Kōbō Daishi practiced the Gumonji rites here. In the Middle Ages, this temple was a sanctuary against the feudal lords. The hondō was dedicated by Yamanouchi but blown down in a typhoon in 1900 (and later rebuilt).

The hill on which the temple is built is also called Godaisan. The temple garden and 19 images of Buddhist deities are classified as a National Treasures. The hondō is classified as an Important Cultural Property dating from the Muromachi Period. Of interest are the museum of esoteric images and the Makino Botanical Garden.

This is the only temple on the pilgrimage dedicated to Monju Bosatsu, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom.

Temple 32 Shingon Buddhism
Zenjibuji Jūichimen Kanzeon
The Temple of Ch'an Master's Peak Lodging: No

Goeika: Shizukanaru waga minamoto no Zenjibuji ukabu kokoro wa nori no hayabune
Honzon Mantra: On maka kyaronikya sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 5.7 km Distance to Next Temple: 7.5 km 

The temple is located on a small hill by the seashore and was founded by Kōbō Daishi to safeguard ships at sea. The honzon was carved by him as well (one guidebook says that Gyōgi founded the temple and carved the honzon). The hill is said to be shaped like Mt. Potalaka (Jp. Fudaraku), the dwelling place of Kannon Bosatsu in southern India and known as the Pure Land of Kannon.

{Frederick Starr says that Gyōgi founded the temple and carved the honzon.}

Locals call the temple Minedera (Summit, or Peak, Temple). Its site is shaped like an eight-petaled lotus so the temple is also sometimes called the same name as the mountain — Hachiyōzan. Kōbō Daishi practiced the rites of gumonji here and, therefore, it is traditionally called Gumonjiin.

The two Niō guardians at the front gate are classified as Important Cultural Properties.

Temple 33 Rinzai Zen Buddhism
Sekkeiji Yakushi Nyorai
Snowy Cliff Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Tabi no michi ueshi mo ima wa Kōfukuji nochi no tanoshimi ariake no tsuki
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 7.5 km Distance to Next Temple: 6.3 km 

Originally named Kōfukuji, this temple was founded by Kōbō Daishi as a Shingon temple. It was converted to Rinzai Zen in the mid 16th century by the monk Geppō. Legend has it that Geppō stayed the night here and was awakened at midnight by the voice of a ghost saying "Mizu no ukiyo o itou tokoro kana." (Even the water is weary of life). Recognizing this as part of a classical poem, and realizing the the ghost was tortured because it couldn't remember the first part, he quoted it to the ghost, who promptly disappeared. When Chōsokabe heard this, he restored the temple and made it his ancestral temple (Bodaiji).

When Chōsokabe's son died, his ashes were buried both here and on Mt. Kōya. When Chōsokabe himself died, he was buried here and the temple name was changed to his posthumous name. Like the vast majority of temples on Shikoku, this temple was burned down during the purge of Buddhism at the beginning of the Meiji Period. The local people built a Shintō shrine on the newly cleared land and when the temple was rebuilt, it was built on land adjacent to the shrine. At that time, the original temple's statues (including 16 which, luckily, had been stored at Temple 31 and are considered National Treasures) were reinstalled.

The honzon was carved by Kōbō Daishi. This temple is historically known as the birthplace of the Tosa School of Confucian Studies (Nangaku).

Although a Zen temple, there is a large statue of Kōbō Daishi standing in the compound. This temple is one of only three Zen temples on the pilgrimage (the others being #11 and #15).

Frederick Starr says that the tomb of Chōsokabe Motochika is 18 cho south of this temple.

Temple 34 Shingon Buddhism
Tanemaji Yakushi Nyorai
Sowing Seeds Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Yo no naka ni makeru gokoku no Tanemadera Fukaki Nyorai no daihi narikeri
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 6.3 km Distance to Next Temple: 9.8 km 

On his return from China, Kōbō Daishi is said to have planted (maku) five varieties of seeds (tane) at this temple at the time he founded it. Thus the name TaneMa(ku)ji. The honzon was carved by a Korean who had been invited to Japan by Emperor Bintatsu in 578 to help with the construction of Tennōji in Naniwa (now ōsaka). The Korean sculpture carved the image as a guardian of the sea as he was once saved from shipwreck by divine intervention.

{Frederick Starr says that it was Shōtoku Taishi who was building Tennōji in ōsaka, and that it was he who summoned the Korean to carve this statue.}

The temple is a popular place for pregnant women to pray. Many women pray here for an easy childbirth, and those women who have had their prayers answered customarily donate water dippers to the temple with their bottoms knocked out. When she first finds that she is pregnant, the women takes a whole ladle to the temple priest. He knocks out the bottom, places it on the altar, and prays over it over the course of two days after which the woman takes it home and places it in the Tokonoma. After a safe delivery, the woman brings the ladle back to the temple in thanks.

The temple has been destroyed by typhoons on numerous occasions but is always rebuilt. Of interest is a preserved copy of the Tripitaka, the Cannons of the Buddhist Scriptures. It is classified as a National Treasure.

Temple 35 Shingon Buddhism
Kiyotakiji Yakushi Nyorai
Clean Waterfall Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Sumu mizu o kumeba kokoro no Kyotakiji nami no hana chiru iwa no hagoromo
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 9.8 km Distance to Next Temple: 13.9 km 

The temple was founded by Gyōgi in the early 8th century and originally named Keizan-mitsuin Taku-mokuji. Gyōgi is also credited with carving the honzon and it is now considered a National Treasure. A century later Kōbō Daishi visited the temple and after seven days of austerities brought forth a clear stream of water from the ground. The water formed a mirror-like pond so the temple's name was changed to Kyōchiin Kiyotakiji (Mirror-like Clear Waterfall Temple).

Prince Takaoka (Shinyo Shinnō), one of Kōbō Daishi's ten disciples and the 3rd son of Emperor Heizei, came here and stayed more than a year. Takoaka had been expelled from the palace and cut off from royal privileges. Not waiting for the inevitable banishment, he came to Shikoku, made the temple his ancestral temple (Bodaisho), and built the 5 foot, five story pagoda.

During this time he also prayed for success in a trip he was planning to India. Unfortunately, he died in Indochina on his way to India, without ever reaching there. (Legend says that he was eaten by a tiger in Laos but that his soul remains in the pagoda and protects the temple from misfortune.)

Temple 36 Shingon Buddhism
Shōryūji Fudō Myōō
Green Dragon Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Wazukanaru izumi ni sumeru shōryū wa buppō shugo no chikahito zokiku
Honzon Mantra: Nōmaku sanmanda basaradan sendamakaroshyada sowataya untarata kanman
 Distance to Previous Temple: 13.9 km Distance to Next Temple: 58.5 km 

Kōbō Daishi built this temple in memory of his Chinese master Keika (Ch. Hui-kuo), the 7th Patriarch of Ch'ing-lung Temple in Ch'ang-an, the capital of T'ang China. Before leaving China to return home, Kōbō Daishi threw a pointed Vajra (Tokko) in the direction of Japan and temple legends say that it landed in the branches of a pine tree in the rear of the present temple.

The honzon, also carved by Kōbō Daishi, is venerated as the guardian of fishermen and is commonly called the Dragon Fudō. Shōryūji is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese temple of Ch'ing-lung Si' of Ch'ang-an.

Henro were, until 1975, forced to use a small ferry to reach the temple, but a bridge now leads you directly to the temple. The temple owns a classical seated statue of Aizen Myōō (Angry Faced Deity).

Frederick Starr says that the Okunoin is 6 cho from the hondō. The remains of Emperor Hanayama are there. He had been exiled here by Fujiwara Kaneye and his son and was buried here when he died.

Temple 37 Shingon Buddhism
Iwamotoji Fudō Myōō, Amida Nyorai, Yakushi Nyorai, Shō Kanzeon Bosatsu, and Jizō Bosatsu
Rocky Root Temple Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Mutsu no chiri itsutsu no yashiro arawashite fukaki niita no kami no tanoshimi
Honzon Mantra: Namu honzon kaie kan
 Distance to Previous Temple: 58.5 km Distance to Next Temple: 80.7 km 

This was originally a complex of seven temples founded by Gyōgi Bosatsu at the order of Emperor Shōmu in the 8th century. The number seven stood for the seven good fortunes and for the seven stars described in the Ninnōkyō Sutra. This is said to be the start of the Star Festival (Hoshi Matsuri).

Kōbō Daishi installed the five honzon with legends growing up around each one related to its own miraculous powers. Only this temple has five honzon. A popular saying goes:

Fudō to avoid evil influence.
Kannon for good luck.
Jizō cares for children.
Amida for the future life.
Yakushi to overcome evil.

The temple burned down in 1867 and was restored in 1890. It is at an elevation of 305 m (1000 ft).

The main deity is Amida Nyorai, with the statue of Kannon on the left and the statue of Fudō on the right. The temple has been moved from its original location and the original is now called Takaoka shrine.

Temple 38 Shingon Buddhism
Kongōfukuji Senju Kanzeon
The Temple of Everlasting Happiness Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Fudaraku ya koko wa misaki no fune no saho toru mo sutsuru mo nori no sada yama
Honzon Mantra: On basara tarama kiriku
 Distance to Previous Temple: 80.7 km Distance to Next Temple: 72.5 km (via Tsukiyama Shrine) 

Founded by Kōbō Daishi (with the aid of Emperor Saga), the temple is located on the tip of Cape Ashizuri and commonly called Ashizurisan. It is modeled after Potalaka (Jp. Fudaraku), the Pure Land of Kannon. In fact, it is the temple from which the truly devout would set sail in search of Fudaraku (many pilgrims also left from Kumano, on Kii Peninsula). Kōbō Daishi also carved the honzon.

Located on the bluff looking out over the sea, the temple has always enjoyed the patronage of aristocrats, warriors, and noble clans like Minamoto, Chōsokabe, and Yamanouchi. It survived without damage throughout the normally destructive early Meiji years.

Ahshizuri means 'foot stomping,' and comes from a legend attached to this temple and described in an early 14th century book entitled Kagerō Nikki. Lady Nijō, the author, says that there was once a humble novice monk here who shared his food with another young monk who mysteriously appeared at the temple. Eventually, the novice's master caught on to this and, scolding him, forbade the novice from sharing any more food. When the novice monk explained this to his new friend, the new monk invited the novice to his own home to dine. The master followed and, as the two monks departed in a boat, shouted "Where are you going?" The reply, "To the land of Kannon." The master, realizing his mistake and grieving over his own pride and spiritual blindness, stamped his feet — leaving his footprints forever in the rocks of the cape.

Frederick Starr says that when En no Gyōja meditated here he was bothered by many Tengu (flying hermits) and was forced to exorcise them.

This area is, unfortunately, a favorite place for Japanese to commit suicide. Because of its reputation as the location from which you can reach fudaraku (Kannon's Pure Land), it is also thought to be a auspicious place to jump to your death.

This temple is located in Ashizuri National Park and of interest are the lighthouse and a statue of John Manjirō, the first Japanese immigrant to America in the 19th century. Manjirō-san's story is very interesting. A local fisherman who lived here in the 1800's, Manjirō had a boating accident off the coast one day. Assuming he would die, he was pleasantly surprised when he a) was picked up and saved by a passing boat and b) realized that the boat was a passing whaling ship and he had just been rescued by Americans.

The captain of the ship took a liking to Manjirō-san and took him home to Connecticut where he educated him and taught him western ways for 10 years. Because the Bakufu maintained a closed-door policy and no one was allowed to reenter the country after leaving, Manjirō thought that he has seen the last of his home. He was extremely happy, therefore, when he learned that the Bakufu had been overthrown and the Meiji restoration of 1868 allowed him to return home.

To make long stories short, Manjirō did return home, now educated, able to speak English, and able to understand the mores and manners of the Americans. He became a valuable tool for the new Meiji government and was used by them repeatedly. He was even included in the first overseas diplomatic mission to the US.

Temple 39 Shingon Buddhism
Enkōji Yakushi Nyorai
Emitting Light Temple Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Namu Yakushi shobyō shitsujo no guwan komete mairu waga mi o tasukemashimase
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 72.5km (via Tuskiyama Shrine) Distance to Next Temple: 25.8 km 

To get from Temple 38 to Temple 39, it seems that a lot of people backtrack up the east side of the Cape towards Nakamura and then cut across the mountains due west. Another option, and what i did on my walk, is to follow the coast west from Cape Ashizuri and then keep following it as it makes its bend to the north towards Matsuyama. The scenery is beautiful, you do no backtracking, and you see some pretty remote back areas of the island.

Temple 39 was founded by Gyōgi in 725 on the orders of Emperor Shōmu and later reestablished in 795 by Kōbō Daishi when he came and struck a spring in the compound. The spring was known as Hōisui, Treasure Medicine Water. The temple has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times with the present buildings being built in 1891. The temple bell and hanging scroll of Fudō Myōō are National Treasures. The Fudō is especially noteworthy because the normally fierce Fudō is portrayed here as laughing (Warai Fudō). The bell is variously attributed to either the 6th or the 8th century.

The mountain is called Sekkizan which means Red Turtle Mountain. Legend says that in 911 a red turtle came out of the sea and brought a bell to the temple by carrying it on its back. The bell is now in a Tōkyō museum. The pond on the temple grounds (Kame no Ike) is where the turtle lived while it was here.